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The Problem With ‘ Pet ’ Primates in the United States Presentation to illustrate the scope of the problem; inherent risks, and to present recommended policies as a solution. Summary Of U.S. State Laws Regarding Private Sector Possession Of Nonhuman Primates 17 states have no restrictions

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the problem with pet primates in the united states

The Problem With ‘Pet’ Primates in the United States

Presentation to illustrate the scope of the problem; inherent risks, and to present recommended policies as a solution.

summary of u s state laws regarding private sector possession of nonhuman primates
Summary Of U.S. State Laws Regarding Private Sector Possession Of Nonhuman Primates
  • 17 states have no restrictions
  • 18 states ban private sector possession
  • 7 states require a permit
  • 5 states have partial bans [banning certain species]
  • 2 states have partial bans [certain species]; permits required for other species
  • 1 state requires being bonded

Aside from state laws, many municipalities, cities, and/or counties across the United States prohibit private possession of nonhuman primates. New laws and regulations prohibiting monkeys and apes from being kept as ‘pets’ are being passed at unprecedented rates.

states with no restrictions on private sector possession of nonhuman primates
States With No Restrictions On Private Sector Possession Of Nonhuman Primates:

Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin

slide5
Nonhuman primates pose safety and health risks to their possessors and any person coming into contact with them.
  • Nonhuman primates are notorious for harboring deadly and contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, Hepatitis, and Simian Herpes B.
  • Hazards are far greater for the typical person, who is most likely unfamiliar with the pathogenesis of disease.
  • Most private sector primate owners lack the knowledge, devotion, and ambition necessary to prevent disease transmission from their ‘pet’.
bites from nonhuman primates can cause severe lacerations
Bites from nonhuman primates can cause severe lacerations.

Wounds may become infected, with the potential to reach the bone and cause permanent deformity.

Nonhuman primates are not domesticated. Adult monkeys and apes exhibit aggression and instinctively bite and scratch.

bites from nonhuman primates cont
Bites from nonhuman primates (cont.)

Many reported monkey bites have resulted in serious injury to the individual who possessed the animal, to a neighbor, or to a stranger on the street.

It is estimated that for every reported monkey bite, at least ten bites go unreported.

bites from nonhuman primates cont8
Bites from nonhuman primates (cont.)

The woman whose leg is shown to the left wrote to a list serv: I am sending you a picture of what Boomer (a capuchin) did to me last week and also to tell you that you were so right when you told me removing the teeth is no safe guard against getting hurt. As you can see, I was hurt from head to toe by him.  I don't know why he got mad, he just attacked for no reason I can figure out. He was neutered at 9 months so it was not hormones! I didn't take anything away from him, he just all the sudden jumped on me before I even knew what was happening. I remember you telling me you can take the teeth and testicles out of a monkey but not the wild instinct. Now he is alone in a cage and I fear him.

bites from nonhuman primates cont9
Bites from nonhuman primates (cont.)

This wound was caused by a small female java macaque who had been considered a "sweet loving pet" for eight years.

slide10
Children are especially vulnerable to being attacked since monkeys and apes are naturally inclined to establish dominance hierarchies.
  • This nine-year-old Montgomery County, Texas boy was playing in his yard when he was suddenly attacked by a neighbor’s ‘pet’ macaque monkey.
  • Of the attack, the boy says, “The monkey started jumping. He got this arm, then he jumped to this arm and started yanking, and going back and forth to a leg and both my arms, like, taking turns on all of them."
inhumane and unnatural treatment
Inhumane and Unnatural Treatment

The life for so-called ‘pet’ monkeys and apes is far removed from what they would experience in their natural habitat.

Robbed from their natural mothers at birth and denied the opportunity to live their lives in accordance with their instincts and with others of their species, ‘pet’ monkeys typically have a dismal and stifling captive existence.

inhumane and unnatural treatment cont
Inhumane and Unnatural Treatment (cont.)

Individuals possessing primate species often attempt to change the nature of the monkey/ape rather than the nature of the care provided.

Such tactics include confinement in small barren enclosures, chaining, shocking, beating "into submission," or even painful mutilations, such as tooth and nail removal.

inhumane and unnatural treatment cont13
Inhumane and Unnatural Treatment (cont.)

Nonhuman primates require special care; housing; diet, and maintenance that the average person cannot provide.

When in the hands of private individuals monkeys and apes typically suffer due to poor care.

A life in a backyard, basement or garage cage cannot even begin to meet the instinctual needs and desires of these intelligent, social animals.

primates in the private sector photo gallery
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

A quick search on the internet alone reveals forty-eight web sites which specialize in selling baby monkeys and apes.

primates in the private sector photo gallery15
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

Semi-adult chimpanzee unrestrained in a public park. Clothing is unnatural and restrictive to nonhuman primates.

primates in the private sector photo gallery16
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

This little capuchin is still swollen and in pain from having his teeth extracted.

primates in the private sector photo gallery17
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

White-fronted capuchin unnaturally donning a dress standing on a child’s shoulders.

primates in the private sector photo gallery18
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

This infant siamang was pulled from his mother to be sold as a ‘pet’ to someone living in a subdivision.

primates in the private sector photo gallery19
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

This irresponsible behavior endangers the life of the toddler and puts the child and monkey at risk of disease transmission.

primates in the private sector photo gallery20
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

A bite from this capuchin monkey could easily sever this child’s jugular vein.

primates in the private sector photo gallery21
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

This infant chimpanzee should be in the arms of her mother.

primates in the private sector photo gallery22
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

The adult macaques are housed in parrot cages.

primates in the private sector photo gallery23
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

This adult spider monkey is housed in a parrot cage when she is not brought out to be dressed and harnessed.

primates in the private sector photo gallery24
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

This infant squirrel monkey is destined to an unnatural captive life.

primates in the private sector photo gallery25
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

The risk of disease transmission between nonhuman primates and children is great.

primates in the private sector photo gallery26
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

This ‘pet’ macaque in a classroom is likely to carry Simian Herpes B virus which is nearly always fatal to humans.

primates in the private sector photo gallery27
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

This ‘pet’ capuchin monkey will never experience life in a jungle.

primates in the private sector photo gallery28
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

The parents of this boy are irresponsibly allowing him to be exposed to a wide variety of risks.

primates in the private sector photo gallery29
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

This young chimpanzee in a public park has been denied the opportunity to coexist with others of his kind.

primates in the private sector photo gallery30
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

This macaque monkey is existing in an unnatural setting.

primates in the private sector photo gallery31
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

This baby spider monkey will never experience the amazing bond and nurturing his monkey mother would have offered.

primates in the private sector photo gallery32
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

This Celebes macaque will grow to become “unmanageable”.

primates in the private sector photo gallery33
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

This capuchin monkey is dressed in uncomfortable, confining clothing for the mere amusement of the owners.

primates in the private sector photo gallery34
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

These children and nonhuman primates are at risk of disease transmission.

primates in the private sector photo gallery35
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

These children are being exposed to risks and learning to be desensitized about the needs of wild animals.

primates in the private sector photo gallery36
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

This chimpanzee is being subjected to an unnatural environment.

primates in the private sector photo gallery37
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

This man is exhibiting irresponsible behavior with this capuchin monkey.

primates in the private sector photo gallery38
Primates in the private sectorPhoto Gallery

This Celebes macaque will begin to exhibit uncontrollable aggression when she is a bit older.

policies and position statements
Policies and Position Statements
  • Importation of nonhuman primates as 'pets' is prohibited by the
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control
  • The World Organization for Animal Health; the American Zoological Association; the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists have position statements opposing private sector possession of nonhuman primates. However, these policies do not limit domestic trade of nonhuman primates as ‘pets’.
recommended policies
Recommended Policies

The National Association of State Public Health Veterinariansrecommends federal and state legislation prohibiting:

  • private ownership of NHP;
  • future commerce in NHP for the pet trade;
  • privately owned "grandfathered" NHP:
    • from all public areas or
    • in any type of exhibition (except in transport to a veterinary facility, or during legal transport)
    • from breeding